Commander Carrier Air Wing NINE (CVW-9) HISTORY

Carrier Air Wings became distinct command organizations in July 1938, when the billet for "Commander, Air Group" (or "CAG" for short) was authorized. Air Wings initially assumed the names of their respective carriers until 1942, when they became numbered. The first numbered Carrier Air Wing was originally established as Carrier Air Group NINE (CVG-9) on 01 March 1942, and disestablished on 15 October 1945. Carrier Air Group TWENTY (CVG-20) was established on 15 October 1943, redesignated as Attack Carrier Air Group NINE (CVAG-9) on 15 November 1946, and later as Carrier Air Group NINE (CVG-9) before being disestablished on 01 Dec 1949. Both Air Wings and their squadrons saw significant combat in the Pacific theater in World War II, with several aircrew earning numerous awards for heroic action in combat. In its current iteration, Carrier Air Wing NINE (tactical callsign "SHOGUN") was established as Carrier Air Group NINE (CVG-9) on 26 March 1952, changing designation to CVW-9 on 20 December 1963. CVG-9 made its first cruise onboard USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CVA-47) in January 1953, participating in combat operations at the close of the Korean War. CVG-9's complement of aircraft for this first cruise included Grumman F9F-2/-5P PANTHERs, Chance-Vought F4U-4/-5N CORSAIRs, Douglas AD-4NA/NL/N SKYRAIDERs, and a relatively new aircraft technology designed to replace the Navy's seaplanes for search and rescue, the Sikorsky H03S-1 DRAGONFLY. From 1954 to 1958, CVG-9 made an around the world cruise aboard USS HORNET (CVA-12) and two Western Pacific deployments aboard USS ORISKANY (CVA-34) and USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14). In February 1960, CVG-9 embarked on the first of four WESTPAC cruises on USS RANGER (CVA-61). The aircraft complement at the time included Chance-Vought F8U CRUSADERs, McDonnell F2H BANSHEEs, Douglas A4D SKYHAWKs, as well as North American FJ FURYs and AD-4 SKYRAIDERs. CVW-9's final two cruises on RANGER included combat operations in Vietnam. CVW-9 made seven subsequent combat deployments to Vietnam on board USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65), USS AMERICA (CVA-66) and USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64). CVW-9's cruise on board ENTERPRISE from October 1965-July 1966 marked the first time combat operations were conducted from a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. During the January-July 1968 cruise, ENTERPRISE/CVW-9 was diverted from Vietnam for possible contingency operations off the coast of North Korea in response to the USS PUEBLO (AGER-2) incident. On 10 May 1972 while on board CONSTELLATION operating from Yankee Station, aircraft and crews from CVW-9 squadrons shot down seven enemy MiG-17/21 aircraft, tying the record for total aircraft shot down by a single USN/USAF Wing in one day during the Vietnam conflict. Five Navy Crosses were awarded to aircrew from CVW-9 squadrons for their actions, and the CONSTELLATION/CVW-9 team was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the deployment. In addition to these events in this era, CVW-9 participated in Operations ROLLING THUNDER, LINEBACKER I and LINEBACKER II. Also in the Vietnam era, CVW-9's long association began with VAW-112, VA/VFA-146 and VA/VFA-147 (joining in 1967, 1969 and 1970, respectively, though leaving briefly for deployments in CVW-2). CVW-9's compliment of aircraft in this era included McDonnell F-4B/J PHANTOM IIs; Douglas A-1J/H SKYRAIDERs, EA-3B SKYWARRIORs, and A-4C/E/F SKYHAWKs; Vought A-7B/E CORSAIR IIs; Grumman A-6A/B/C/KA-6D INTRUDERs, EA-6B PROWLERs, and E-2B HAWKEYEs; North American RA-5C VIGILANTEs; and Sikorsky SH-3G SEA KINGs. Following the Vietnam Conflict, CVW-9 made several peacetime WESTPAC cruises aboard CONSTELLATION, RANGER and USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63) between June 1974 and June 1987.
During the 1974 cruise, CONSTELLATION/CVW-9 became the first US aircraft carrier/air wing in nearly 26 years to enter and operate in the Arabian Gulf. CVW-9 was re-assigned to USS NIMITZ (CVN-68) in July 1987, completing the first NIMITZ/NINE WESTPAC/IO/Arabian Gulf cruise in February 1989, which included Operation EARNEST WILL in defense of reflagged Kuwaiti tankers. In this era, CVW-9 flew Northrup-Grumman F-14 A/A+/B TOMCATs, E-2B/C/C+ HAWKEYEs, A-6E/F INTRUDERs, and EA-6B PROWLERs; McDonnell-Douglas F/A-18A/C HORNETs and EA-3B SKYWARRIORs; Vought A-7E CORSAIR IIs; Lockheed S-3 VIKINGs; and Sikorsky SH-3D/H SEA KINGs. CVW-9 completed a "round the Horn" transit aboard CONSTELLATION in April 1990 before returning to NIMITZ for rapid deployment in March 1991 in time to participate in Operation DESERT STORM clean up. Also on this cruise were sorties in support of Operations DESERT SABRE and PROVIDE COMFORT, the latter in protection of Kurdish population in the north of Iraq. From February-August 1993, and again in November 1995 through May 1996, the NIMITZ/NINE team completed two more deployments to the Arabian Gulf, supporting United Nations sanctions against Iraq in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH. During the May 1996 deployment, the Nimitz Battle Group emergency sortied from the Gulf to conduct operations off the coast of Taiwan in response to rapidly rising tensions between China and Taiwan. One month into the 1997-1998 "around the world" cruise, the NIMITZ/NINE team again found itself emergency sortied, this time to the Arabian Gulf to enforce Operation SOUTHERN WATCH no-fly zones as the Iraqi government aggressively challenged UN Sanctions. CVW-9 ended its 10-year association with NIMITZ in March 1998. After deploying in 2000 on board USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) to WESTPAC/IO/Arabian Gulf, CVW-9 participated in Operation NOBLE EAGLE after 11 September 2001, providing air protection along the West Coast of the United States. Shortly after 9-11, the STENNIS/SHOGUN team deployed to the North Arabian Sea/IO, flying numerous missions over Afghanistan in support of decisive combat during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM before returning home in May 2002. In January 2003 and again in January 2005, CVW-9 embarked onboard USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70). The VINSON/CVW-9 team went on a WESTPAC cruise 2003 in support of Global War on Terrorism, and on a WESTPAC/IO/Arabian Gulf cruise in 2005 in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
In June 2006, CVW-9 returned to STENNIS for the 2007 WESTPAC/IO/Arabian Gulf cruise in support of Operations ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM and the Global War on Terrorism. The STENNIS/SHOGUN team was on station more than five months in the Arabian Gulf and deployed more than seven and a half months in total. In January 2009 the STENNIS/SHOGUN team departed on a WESTPAC deployment, integrating an HSM helicopter squadron and its cruiser-destroyer detachments into the Air Wing structure for the first time ever. CVW-9 deployed again with USS John C. Stennis on a scheduled deployment on 29 July 2011 and returned to the United States on 27 February 2012 after participating in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing Nine were the last aircraft to conduct combat missions over Iraq, ending Operation New Dawn. Following a 5 month down period, CVW-9 deployed again with USS John C. Stennis on a scheduled deployment from August 2012 thru April 2013 in support of 5th Fleet operations and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9 collectively earned the 2012 Ramage Award for carrier/air wing operational excellence March 26, 2012. The Navy-wide award, named for Rear Admiral James "Jig Dog" Ramage, a legendary World War II ace, recognizes the top aircraft carrier/air wing team for best performance as an integrated unit and excellence in Navy aircraft carrier operations. Commander, Carrier Air Wing NINE is currently assigned to Carrier Strike Group THREE (CCSG-3) as the Strike Warfare Commander for operations at sea with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) Strike Group. The strike arm consists of ten squadrons, a carrier onboard delivery (COD) detachment, and four MH-60R detachments operating from DESRON-21 cruiser-destroyer assets. CVW-9 has evolved into the most lethal carrier-borne strike force in the world. It consists of the Navy's most modern aircraft, including: Boeing F/A-18E/F SUPERHORNETs of the VFA-41 “BLACK ACES”, VFA-14 "TOPHATTERS" (also the Navy’s oldest continuous squadron), VFA-97 “WARHAWKS”, and the VFA-151 “VIGILANTES” from NAS Lemoore; EA-18G GROWLERs of the VAQ-133 "WIZARDS" from NAS Whidbey Island, WA; Northrup-Grumman E-2C HAWKEYE 2000s of the VAW-112 "GOLDENHAWKS" from NAS Point Mugu, CA; Sikorsky MH-60S SEAHAWKs of the HSC-14 "CHARGERS" from NAS North Island, CA; and Sikorsky MH-60R SEAHAWKs of the HSM-71 “RAPTORS,” also from NAS North Island. During operations at sea, CVW-9’s COD mission is provided by the C-2A GREYHOUNDs of Detachment IV of the VRC-30 "PROVIDERS" (C-2) from NAS North Island. Currently, CVW-9’s homeport is NAS Lemoore, CA.